American adults who have no health insurance or those who are underinsured will still be able to get free COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna, even after government-purchased supplies run out, the company announced Monday.
“Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be available at no cost for insured people whether they receive them at their doctors’ offices or local pharmacies. For uninsured or underinsured people, Moderna’s patient assistance program will provide COVID-19 vaccines at no cost,” the company said in a statement. “Everyone in the United States will have access to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine regardless of their ability to pay.”
While uninsured and underinsured children already will receive free COVID-19 vaccines as part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccines for Children program, this news may ease worries for adults. The U.S. public health emergency declaration is scheduled to end in May.
Meanwhile, Pfizer has announced plans to hike the price of its COVID-19 vaccine. Starting at $110 per dose, that is more than triple what the United States paid last summer for its bulk purchase of the vaccines, CBS News reported.
However, Moderna faces different pressures since the U.S. government subsidized its vaccine development. A planned hearing called “Taxpayers Paid Billions For It: So Why Would Moderna Consider Quadrupling the Price of the COVID Vaccine?” was announced Wednesday by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel is scheduled to testify at that hearing, CBS News reported. Federal officials had said earlier they might rely on health centers and state and local partnerships to help uninsured adults access vaccines.
“We don’t have a vaccine program for the uninsured adult as we do for children. And so it would be really helpful, and we’re working now, to see how we can ensure that uninsured adults will get vaccinated,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., told a House hearing earlier this month, CBS News reported.
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